If you suffered injuries in an automobile accident in SC and are looking to recover compensation for your losses, you may be wondering when the right time would be to initiate the lawsuit process. Should you file your lawsuit against the other driver shortly after the collision occurred or is it better to wait a few months? The answer to this question actually depends on a number of different things.
However, before we jump into what factors determine when you should file your lawsuit, we must first acknowledge what South Carolina’s statute of limitations is for filing a personal injury claim.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in South Carolina
The term “statute of limitations” refers to the timeframe allotted for a party to take legal action against another party. Each state has set its own statute of limitations and the timeframes vary based on the type of claim that is being filed. In South Carolina, an individual is generally given three years from the date of their accident or the date their injuries became known to file their lawsuit with the court however the statute of limitations is two years if the defendant is a government entity
If your lawsuit is filed any time after the applicable statute of limitations has expired, the court will likely dismiss the case and you won’t be entitled to collect anything to go toward your losses. Now that we have addressed what South Carolina’s statute of limitations is for filing a personal injury lawsuit, you now know you must generally file your claim within three years after the accident and within two years if the defendant is a government entity
How long after an accident should I wait to file my injury lawsuit?
While you aren’t going to want to file your lawsuit on the latter end of the statute of limitations as it is never a good idea to do anything last minute, there are some factors that could impact how soon after the accident you should file suit. Some of these factors are discussed below.
- You must know what the extent of your injuries are before you file your lawsuit.
The only way to truly tell how severe your injuries are is by having a medical professional evaluate them and provide you with some type of medical treatment. Whether that entails you going to the doctor regularly, visiting with a chiropractor, or attending therapy, you are going to want to undergo some sort of medical care until your injuries are healed or until your physician has gathered enough information to provide you with a prognosis.
- You will need to establish the impact your injuries will have on your life going forward.
Once you know the extent of your injuries (i.e. whether they are expected to heal or if you will never be able to fully recover from them), then our Columbia, SC personal injury attorneys can assist you with determining the impact they will have on your life and livelihood. For example, if a person suffered a traumatic brain injury and after undergoing a few months of therapy it was determined that their cognitive functioning would not be restored to the way it once was, this could impact their ability to work, partake in the activities they once enjoyed doing, or care for themselves (i.e. bath, feed, or dress themselves).
Until you are able to determine how serious your injuries are and how they will affect your life, you won’t know how much compensation to ask for from the liable party you intend on suing. However, once this has been established, then our skilled personal injury lawyers in Columbia, SC will assess your case and decide what your damages are worth.
Other Factors that Could Impact the Outcome of Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
Your injuries and the impact they will have on your life will play a significant role in determining how much you should receive from the other party. However, the amount you might actually be awarded given your case is successful could be reduced if the other party is able to prove that you were partially liable for causing the accident. This is because South Carolina follows what is called the modified comparative negligence law.
What is South Carolina’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law?
When a party files a lawsuit in an effort to recover damages from another party, but it is determined that they were partially responsible for causing the collision, their award shall be reduced by their percentage of fault. The law states that a person must not be 50% or more at fault for an accident when seeking damages from another party. For example, let’s say the court awarded you $100,000 but you were found to be 25% at fault. Your award would then be reduced by $25,000.
Connect with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Columbia, SC Now
Although an accident victim should consider waiting to file an injury lawsuit until they are able to accurately value their damages, it doesn’t mean there aren’t steps they can begin taking to initiate their case. To find out what these steps are and whether you have a viable case worth pursuing, contact a Columbia, SC personal injury lawyer at Louthian Law Firm, P.A. today. Our firm is family-owned and family-focused and will put forth the time and effort needed to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your case.
Louthian Law Firm, P.A. can be reached at:
1116 Blanding Street, #3A
Columbia, SC 29201
Bert Louthian has been practicing law in Columbia with his father, Herb, since 1985. After receiving his Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina, Bert launched his legal career in his father’s firm. With 80 years of legal experience between them, Louthian Law, P.A. remains Family-Owned and Family-Focused.
Bert understands that when life goes wrong – when you or someone you love gets hurt or suffers a loss, it can feel like nothing will ever be right or fair again. He gets up and goes to work every day to prove that feeling wrong – and does everything in his power to make things right again.